Mobile, Ala. -- Pensacola Blue Wahoos starter Tyler Mahle flirted with perfect games in his first two starts. On Saturday against the Mobile BayBears lineup he pitched a perfect nine innings - the first time that has happened in the Southern League since 1970.
Behind Mahle's perfect game the Blue Wahoos won, 1-0, over Mobile at Hank Aaron Stadium and its eighth game in a row. Pensacola is off to its best start in franchise history and has the best record in the Southern League at 13-3.
Mahle said he was able to mow down the Mobile batters by relying on mixing the speeds and location of his fastball and said his "off-speed stuff was OK."
"There's no way to really do it," the 22-year-old Mahle said. "You got to go out there and it just happens by chance. I feel good. You know it doesn't happen often. It's unreal."
The Blue Wahoos opening day starter, who struck out eight in Saturday's game, improved to 4-0 with a 0.67 ERA. He is the first Southern League pitcher to reach four wins this season and his ERA is third in the Southern League behind two pitchers with 0.00 earned-run averages.
In his first two starts, Mahle threw 4.1 perfect innings against Tennessee and 5.0 perfect innings against Biloxi. Baseball America ranked him the Cincinnati Reds 12th best prospect to start the 2017 season.
He did throw a no-hitter last season in a game June 13 against Jupiter Hammerheads in High-A with the Daytona Tortugas.
The Reds' moved him up in June to its Double-A affiliate in Pensacola and he participated in his first Major League spring training camp this year.
Mahle was named the Reds' Sheldon Chief Bender Award as the club's Minor League Player of the Year in 2015 when he was with Low-A Dayton Dragons and posted a 13-8 record and 2.43 ERA.
He was 14-6 last year with Daytona and Pensacola but said he felt his performance for the Blue Wahoos was the "worst" in his professional career. He was 1-2 with a 6.90 ERA in his last eight starts and lasted 3.2 innings or less three times.
Mahle thanked his defense for their stingy defense behind him throughout the game. Blue Wahoos shortstop Blake Trahan has made only two errors in 16 games this season. In addition, Gabriel Guerrero caught some fly balls on the run in left field.
"They were in the perfect spots and they ran some balls down," said the humble Mahle. "They made some amazing plays."
All Mahle needed was a single to left field by catcher Joe Hudson in the second inning that drove in right fielder Aristides Aquino to put the Blue Wahoos up 1-0. Aquino ripped a double to center field to start the second inning.
They were the only two hits that Mobile starter Tyler Carpenter gave up to Pensacola in his eight inning start
Mahle's perfect game gave the Blue Wahoos pitching staff a ridiculous team ERA of 2.17, which leads the league. It was also the team's fourth shutout in its 16 games played this season, the most in the league.
The Pensacola Blue Wahoos travel to take on the Mobile BayBears and return home on April 27th to take on the Biloxi Shuckers. The Pensacola Blue Wahoos are the Double-A Affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and a member of the Southern League. Follow the Pensacola Blue Wahoos at BlueWahoos.com, facebook.com/PensacolaBlueWahoos and twitter.com/BlueWahoosBBall.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.